The year was 2010. Already six months past since the new phase in my life as a full-time traveler and entrepreneur. A stopover to Thailand in Ukraine turned into a six week detour across Europe. Venice, Italy, was the least expensive flight out of Ukraine to a city that interested me.
Would I go again? Definitely not alone. Venice is an absolutely beautiful city that is absolutely meant to be experienced with a partner. The city’s winding canals, architecture, bars, and restaurants are the highlight. Try doing that alone and there is only so much you can appreciate alone. Venice is meant for travelers without purpose. Enjoy the scenery rather than hop from museum to bumping clubs. Oh-Venice, is what I imagine my partner will say during a future visit. It’s that goddamn nice looking.
I had no choice in my case and spent the next couple of days walking aimlessly around the city. During the weekday mornings a few vendors sell fresh fruit and veggies to the few local Venezians. Who would have thought there are other people than tourists on this island?
This was my first stop in Italy. Pizza. I really like following the hype when traveling. I’ll listen to The Girl from Ipanema with headphones in Brazil at Ipanema beach even though it’s just a regular beach. In Italy that means ordering a
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pizza from the first pizzeria I can find. Even if that pizza is absolute crap like the one pictured below. But hype is a powerful motivator.
Likewise, Italian gelato is also supposed to be pretty famous. Do not ask me the difference between gelato in Italy and gelato in Philadelphia. Both taste good is the extent of my taste bud knowledge.
There was not much hype attached to tagliatelle al nero di seppia, also known as cuttlefish ink pasta. But it was pasta and Italy is supposed to make good pasta, right? It was pretty bland but I was feeling adventurous and it looked like food that an adventurous person would eat.
I also found some pasta on sale with cuttlefish ink as the key ingredient.
I did not commit a house robbery like the fellows from the Italian Job and I did not hire a gondola to take me on a romantic solo journey down the canals. Traveling with a partner would have come in handy to do that. But it would have been more for the woman’s benefit, as a boat ride is a boat ride.
Venice is an incredibly touristy city. You will find souvenir stands all over the city like this one. Though, touristy places are not so bad because it only means that people from all over the world are there. I have not been all over the world so in my accommodations I was able to meet other interesting travelers from throughout Europe and Asia at the hotel potluck dinner.
As most travelers do in Venice I became endlessly lost during many points in the day. This was especially frustrating because I could not simply quit and hop in a taxi like in other places. It literally meant reading the map and figuring out how to get back to my hotel the old fashion way. Ughh.
By the end of my second day I was eager to leave one of the most interesting looking cities I have visited. It’s meant for amore, wine, and good company. For a traveler like me I wish I would have skipped Venice because I know that I will cross paths with this city at some other point during the next fifty years.
I know my view of Venice may seem a bit sad. But check out some other takes on Venice from other solo travelers who visited for a more upbeat perspective like this one, this, or this too.